The people of Halle have been celebrating carnival for well over six hundred years. The carnival parade, which has been an annual event since 1932, with its flamboyantly dressed groups and beautifully decorated ‘chars’ (floats), truly is a sight for sore eyes. The Halle carnival has become bigger by the year and is now one of the largest in the country.
Halle boasts dozens of carnival groups, the largest ones with anything from 50 to 80 members. In addition, the city also has about ten orders, such as the Halse Dansmariekes, tasked with accompanying the princes’ carriage, the Orde der Prinsessen and the Orde van Tastendeuvel, which group the Princesses and Princes Carnival respectively. For good measure, the Halle carnival also has two gilles (carnival giant) groups: the Gilles and Pierrots of Groot-Halle and the Gilles and Paysannes (Female peasants) of Sint-Rochus, a district in the town of Halle.

Halle celebrates carnival during Laetare weekend (fourth weekend of the season of Lent) and with tremendous gusto at that for the festivities go on for three whole days and nights. Firm fixtures are the ‘deuvelsstoet (devils parade)’ on Saturday, the kaarsofferande (candle offering) by the gilles on Sunday morning, the pronkzitting (formal session) at the City hall, the parade on Sunday afternoon, the lichtstoet (lights parade) on Sunday evening, the krottenmaandagstoet (toffee Monday parade), the krottenworp (toffee throw) on Monday evening and, to conclude, the burning of Carnival.

But, in Halle, carnival provides year-round entertainment, with a whole list of events in the run-up to carnival weekend such as the prince elections and the children’s carnival, not to mention all the work on the Styrofoam or polyester chars and costumes that goes on behind the scenes months before the big event.

Date for your dairy: Carnival 2018: 10 – 11 – 12 March
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